tv The Situation Room CNN December 27, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PST
the end of the year staring at a crisis we should have dealt with literally months ago. make no mistake, the only reason democrats have been trying to deflect attention on to me and my colleagues over the past few weeks is they don't have a plan of their own that could get bipartisan support. the so-called senate bill that the majority leader keeps referring to passed with only democratic votes and despite his repeated calls for the house to call it, he knows he himself is the reason it can't happen. the paperwork never left the senate. so there's nothing for the house to vote on. as i pointed out before we took that vote back on july 25th, the democratic bill is, quote, a revenue measure that didn't originate in the house so it's got no chance whatsoever of becoming law, end quote.
that's what i said back on july 25th. the only reason we ever allowed that vote on that proposal is i said at that time was that we knew it didn't pass constitutional muster. and the democrats were really serious, they would proceed to a revenue bill that originated in the house as the constitution requires and as i called on them to do again last week. to repeat, the so-called nate bill is nothing more than a glorified sense of the senate resolution. so let's put that convenient talking point aside from here on out. last night i told the president we'd be happy to look at whatever he proposes but the truth is we're coming up against a hard deadline here and, as i said, this is a conversation we should have had months ago. and republicans aren't about to write a blank check or anything
senate democrats put forward just because we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff. that wouldn't be fair to the american people. that having been said, we'll see what the president has to propose. members on both sides of the aisle will review it and then we'll decide how best to proceed. hopefully there's still time for an agreement of some kind that saves the taxpayers from a wholly, wholly preventible economic crisis. mr. president, i yield the floor. >> the majority leader. >> that, of course, was senator mitch mcconnell and here we have the majority leader in the senate, harry reid. let's listen in for a second. >> the house has reported by the press and we all know, one of the plans didn't have a name, it
wasn't plan b. i don't know which plan it was because they've had a number over there. but this plan was to show the american people that the $250,000 ceiling on raising taxes wouldn't pass in the house. why didn't they have that vote? because it would have passed. they wanted to kill it. the speaker wanted to show everybody that it wouldn't pass the house. but he couldn't bring it up for vote because it wouldn't pass. republicans -- a myriad of republicans think it's the fair thing to do and of course every democrat would vote for that. the republican leader finds himself frustrated that the president has called on him to help address the fiscal cliff. he's upset because, quote, the phone never rang. he complains that i have not passed the resolution to pass the fiscal cliff but he's in error. we all know that in july of this
year we passed in the senate the relief that would give -- that would give to middle class americans. that passed the senate. now, we know that republicans have buried themselves in procedural road blocks, everything we try to do around here. and now they are saying, well, we can't do the 250 because it wasn't blue-slipped, because it will be blue-slipped. mr. president, how does the american people react to that? there was a bill introduced by the ways and means committee in the house, sandy levin that called for this legislation. the speaker was going to bring it up to kill it but he kobt kill it and then we moved to plan b, the debacle of all debacles. it's the mother of all debacles. that was brought up in an effort to send us something. he couldn't even pass it among the republicans it was so
absurd. he meaning the speaker. so it's very clear now, mr. president, that the speaker's number one goal is to get elected speaker on january 3rd. the house is not even here. he's told me he'll give them two days to get back here, 48 hours, not two days, 48 hours. they don't even have enough of the leadership here to meet to talk about it. they've done it with conference calls. people are spread all over this country because the speaker is basically waiting for january 3rd. now, the president campaigned on raising taxes on people making more than $250 thou,000 a year. the bush tax cut will expire at the end of this year. obama was elected with a surplus of about three million votes.
he won the election. he campaigned on this issue. again, the speaker can't take yes for an answer. the president has presented to him something that would prevent us from going over the cliff. it was response to something that the speaker gave them himself but i guess with the dysfunctional republican caucus in the house, even the speaker can't tell what they are going to do because he backed off even his own proposal. the house, we hear so often, is controlled by the republicans. and we acknowledge that. i would be most happy to move forward on something that senator mcconnell said they wouldn't filibuster over here that he would support and that boehner would support if it were reasonable. but right now we haven't heard
anything. i don't know and it's none of my business, i guess, although i am very curious, if the speaker and the majority leader, the republican leader over here are even talking. i mean, what's going on here? mr. president, you can't legislate with yourself. we have nobody to work with, to compromise. that's what legislation is all about, is the ability to compromise. the republicans in the house have left town. the negotiations between the president and the speaker have fallen apart as they have for the last 3 1/2 years. we've tried mightily to get something done. i'll just go over what the little drill here, mr. president, to remind everyone how unreasonable the republicans have been. senator conrad and jeb gray came up with a proposal.
commission would be appointed, appoint back to us, no filibusters, no amendments, yes or no. and we did a great job and we closed two bases over two different cycles saving the country hundreds and billions of dollars here. so we brought that up here. i brought that up. we have plenty of votes to do it except republican co-sponsors walked away and wouldn't vote for it. that's where bowles/simpson came from. why don't we do bowles/simpson. one problem. the republicans appointed there wouldn't vote for it, generally speaking. then we went through the months and months of talks between the president and boehner, both times boehner could not deliver because they refused because of grover norquist to allow any taxes for revenues whatsoever. we had meetings with the vice president biden and cantor. he walked out of it. he's the majority leader in the
house. we had this supercommittee and they were doing good things. good things. dealing with entitlements and revenues and a week before they were to report, by virtue of a statute, i get a letter signed by virtually every republican, too bad about the supercommittee. we're not going to do anything with revenues. >> okay. i think that's a good place to end this. what you're hearing is the history of what has happened to bring us to this point. i want to bring in our congressional correspondent dana bash. dana, i was just sitting here imagining someone turning on their tv thinking, what a these people talking about? and i think i would sort of boil it down to this. when they are talking on the floor, that's never a good sign. they should be talking in a back room. they have gotten nowhere. we are where we are and nobody has agreed on to come up with
something. >> reporter: that is right, candy. this is the kind of stuff that we watch and people who watch c-span watch but people who are really tuning in to find out what matters to them, which is are their taxes going to go up in five days got a pretty good idea of why they are so deadlocked. blue slip, which is a question of process, tax bills, can can they start in the house or the senate, and as you said, talking about the history of where things went wrong. but that's not what people want to know. people want to know what's going to happen going forward and they really got their answer, which is, it is tied up in knots. what has been talked about behind the scenes -- and the president actually talked about this publicly last week, whether or not with the few days left the senate can pass at least a scaled back, scaled down plan, which is effectively the president's tax plans to keep tax cuts in place for 98% of
americans. but the question is whether they can get enough republicans to sign on. and what's happening right now is a back and forth between the senate democratic leader and the republican leader. you heard it there. the republican leader saying i can't do anything until i see the details and he says he expects to see them soon. that's where we are right now. >> let me bring in ryan lizza to our conversation. ryan, when you're watching this, i get the sense the only movement we've had, the house is m kog back from their president and it's the optics that problem bothered them more than anything? >> it's better that the house will be back rather than dispersed at their districts. the president is going to have a meeting with the congressional leaders. we have boehner calling back republicans to the house to potentially vote on something.
so there's some nonzero possibility that something gets passed between now and the end of the year. but for all of the attention on the senate, the sticking point is still the house of representatives. it's still the one republican-controlled institution in the town and john boehner having control of his republican conference and squeezing something through the house of representatives. and so far i don't think there's been any movement there. there's been nothing public that can suggest that boehner can suddenly magically pass something that he and the white house agree on. >> ryan, you're a correspondent for the new yorker and join us often. dana, let me bring you back in and ask you, it seems to me that anything that this congress has gotten done -- and by "this congress" i mean when it's been divided between republicans in the house and democrats in the senate. it has been that both parties, that is, the left of the democratic party and the right of the republican party are kind of left to vote yay or nay by
themselves and they form a consensus in the middle. does john boehner need nancy pelosi in order to get anything passed? >> reporter: yes, absolutely. no question about it. that became incredibly obvious when he couldn't even get his own republicans to effectively save them from themselves and at least have some political cover by voting to keep tax cuts in place for everybody except millionaires because they said they wouldn't help him with what they call a political ploy. i think that's true but actually talking to people on both sides of the aisle here, because the ball is now in the senate -- the senate's court, the feeling is that if they can kind of break the dam in the senate and if something actually passes, you've already seen over the past two days house republicans saying that they hadn't said before, if the senate passes something, we'll take it up. and if that's the case, the sort of betting is that with the help of the majority of the
democrats, probably most of the democrats and maybe, you know, a few dozen or more republicans, that's how it would get passed. but, candy, it's still a big if, as we just witnessed, whether they can even get to that point to break the dam in the senate first. >> dana, i want to ask both you and ryan this. we have heard from republicans. it's the president here that's driving this. he doesn't want it to yield. he wants it to go over the cliff. he thinks it will enhance his bargaining powers because people blame republicans. we've heard harry reid say several times today, we know what this is about. boehner is gone because he's waiting until he he gets re-elected as speaker on the 3rd. but truth tell both of those for me. are those justifiable concerns on either side? >> reporter: yes, they are actually justifiable political concerns on both sides. approximate both of those men
are truth telling to a certain extent. not so much about boehner wanting to be re-elected but as we talked about before, the fact that after december 31st, what happens is everybody's taxes go up so house republicans when they take a vote -- if they take a vote after january 1st, that vote will be to cut taxes which is a very different political vote than voting to effectively raise taxes. so the -- harry reid is right about that when it comes to house republicans. and republicans are right that the president doesn't really think that he's going to get much political fault and damage if we go off the fiscal cliff because all the polls show a majority of americans will probably blame republicans for not passing at least tax cuts to extend for 98% of americans. so both have a good point. >> it begs the question i want to you answer, what are they all doing here? if nobody is interested in getting this deal? >> as dana pointed out, lots of house republicans would rather vote on something after the 1st
than before. i haven't seen any indication from obama or the people around him that they are okay with going over the cliff. they really do seem to want to do something before the deadline. they seem desperate to do that. plenty of liberals say, go over the cliff. big cuts in the pentagon and big tax hikes. the white house, from all indications that i've seen, they don't want that to happen. they are scared of what could happen to the markets. >> why aren't they dalg dealing with boehner? dana, be go ahead. jumpb in here. >> i think they won their negotiating power once boehner last week failed. as dana pushed out, the only thing that can get boehner is to do something. >> reporter: i think that you're right when i said that democrats don't think that the president will have much political damage. that does seem to be coming more from democrats here in congress
than in the white house. democrats here in congress feel that it's a win-win for them politically. the one thing i will tell you very quickly, the pushback on this narrative that i heard from senate republican leader in the hallway. he said, do you remember who the speaker was during the hoover administration? i said, no. he said, that's my point. nobody will remember who the speaker was if ge into a recession but it's the president who tends to have the fault if something really calamatus happens. >> dane na bash and ryan lizza, thank you. real concerns for president bush. he's in an intensive care in a houston hospital. we'll take you there live. [ laughs ] [ pencil scratches ]
it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ trees will talk to networks will talk to scientists about climate change. cars will talk to road sensors will talk to stoplights about traffic efficiency. the ambulance will talk to patient records will talk to doctors about saving lives. it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away.
he's in intensive care after being hospitalized for more than a month. what are you hearing about the 41st president? >> reporter: well, he is doing well but not going to get out at this point. he is still in intensive care and doctors put him there because he had a persistent fever they couldn't quite knock down. he beat a bronchial infection on the 23rd of november and then this fever popped up. it won't go away. they've tried several things so they've put him in intensive care to monitor him across the board. they are going to keep him there, it seems, on a day by basis and hopefully the family says he will be out soon. it sounds like he's in great spirits. he's had some family members come in here. his spokesman said he can guarantee us that his trademark humor is in tact and the guy sounds like he's just been couped up in the hospital for a long time, really wants to get out. but doctors want to keep him
until is he 100% beyond and past whatever he has right now. >> miguel, it sounds a lot better today. thank you so much for keeping us up to date on the condition of george h.w. bush for us. the president of the nra is opening up to cnn insisting that most americans back his group and why a gun registry would be a bad idea. and shoppers get the surprise of their life at a shopping mall when an aquarium unleashes a flood of water and some sharks. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents the cold truth.
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that along with other top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa? >> hi there, candy. arizona principal wants to arm and he says this is the next best solution of arming the schools. he says that the shooting at sandy hook is preventible and it will be introduced in the legislature. a winter storm left thousands of travelers stranded, especially in the northeast. more than 400 flights were canceled on monday. one american airlines passengers told passengers he blamed his company for flight delays saying, quote, they don't have a clue what they are doing. the airline was focused on everyone's safety. and shoppers at a shanghai mall got quite a surprise when
water burst threw the tank holding sharks and turtles. officials think cold weather may have weakened the glass, which is only about two years old, candy. you can see those pictures there. you saw those people running for cover. get out of the way of the sharks. >> wow. that's pretty amazing. thanks so much, lisa. appreciate it. guns in schools and the second amendment. the president of the national rifle association talks to cnn about that and more in the wake of the connecticut school shooting. if rz advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms
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this country is a question on which people disagree very deeply. and some people tend to personalize it. i'll telling you this, though, recent gallup polls show that the nra is quite popular, certainly more than the political parties, although that's a pretty low bar, i'll have to say. we asked wisconsin voters whether they agree with the goals and principles of the national rifle association and 45% of them had a simple answer. that answer was yes. so, yes, there are people who are detractors. yes, there are people who disagree with us on policy and, yes, there are people who think that because we support firearms rights are crazy. the fact of the matter is that most americans don't feel that way and all and most americans support the second amendment. when wayne lapierre spoke about a week ago, he suggested that what has to happen and should
happen, that in every school district, administrators, eachers, and parents should sit down and find out what is needed to protect that school. some of them will want police officers there. others will want private security guards. they may want some places where volunteers to do it. we're willing to work with everyone on those questions. >> so someone who sells a gun, should they have to report that somewhere snl. >> no, if i sell a gun to my son, my wife, if i sell a gun to my cousin, the sean no. >> what if that gun is used in a crime and police can't find where that gun came from. >> we do not keep -- this country does not keep and should not keep a national gun registry. >> why is that? >> because a national gun registry can on the one hand lead to the sort of thing that happened in new york which was the purpose of this interview. and, secondly, because history thoughs that nations that register guns are in a position then to take the guns away from the citizens.
we have a right under the second amendment in this country. until we're criminals, unless we're in a prohibited group, until there's a law against us having a firearm, we have a right to have one. >> there's got to be some middle ground. it's not either/or. and you're kind of making it it sound that way. like there is no middle ground on this. this is the way it should be, period. and that gets us nowhere and that's the problem we have in this country. >> if you expect me to say, let's jet ti son the second amendment. >> i'm not asking to you do that at all. >> the second amendment is valuable and worth preserving. >> joining me for today's strategy session are democratic strategists and pollster cornell. he is here with cnn's contributor erick eric son. thank you both for being here. i want to look at this, quote, gun debate that we're having and it seems that there are three debates and neither debate is
integrated into the other. there's a debate on how this country deals with mental health there is a debate on the kinds of guns that are available and there's a debate on school safety. looking at this, cornell, can you see something in the nra's school safety program that you think is a good idea somewhere to start a conversation? >> well, it's problematic. because i think that the nra is -- and i watched their press conference the other day. i've got to tell you, just as a consultant, someone who consults organizations and people in politics, i think it was absolute disaster. they blamed everyone put themselves. they positioned themselves as being victims. and then didn't really sort of offer up anything new or change. look, you know, what happened in connecticut was a moment that i think changed the conscience of americans. it was a jolt to the conscience of americans in the same way that 9/11 was a jolt so the
conscience of americans. the nra's position is simply not ten nabl. when you have over 70% of americans, there should be a restriction on guns and, yes, we should have a registry for gun owners and for the nra to say, well, any sort of laws or amendments that you make, you know, it sort of takes away our ability to have guns or, once again, the second amendment, that becomes real problematic. they are not where the majority of americans are. the majority of americans are not where the nra is on this issue. >> erick, let me try this with you and then go back to lou cornell. i guess my point is, when you are looking at this discussion, it's not a discussion at all. everybody has their sort of own area that they want to talk about and no one is discussing, well, maybe we should discuss school safety. and the nra makes this point, when we want the make the president safe, he's surrounded
by people with guns. when we want to make money safe at banks, we put men with guns there. so it's not as though it's a foreign concept to protect what is dear to people, what is important with guns. >> you know, candy, i'm really frustrated with the conversation because people are talking past each other and not too each other. the gun control advocates, gun rights advocates. if you look at columbine in 1999, it was after the semiassault weapons ban. the casualties would have been much more extensive had he not engaged the people evacuating from the school. that's a conversation worth having. the problem here for gun rights advocates is a desire to do something in the face of this tragedy. we didn't have it last year in the colorado shooting. we've got it now after the campaign is over. but what are they going to do?
last time they did an assault weapons ban that really didn't do anything. the violent prevention center said it didn't really cause any problems. it caused them to make guns look less scary. >> cornell, to erick's point, when you look at it from a pr standpoint, everyone piled on the nra. i guess what i'm asking is, is there room for a broader conversation than people just sticking to positions that they had, quite frankly, before this issue. >> i don't think everyone is sticking to positions because this is a conversation that now the american public is moving in an interesting way on this. who is taking the position is the nra who hasn't come up with anything sort of new and just doubling down on what they've said in the past. i think it's a false ee kwir lance. yes, we can have a discussion about having armed security guards in schools. fine, let's put armed security guards in schools. that doesn't go far enough. we can't do commonsense legislation like have a registry of gun owners.
we can't close the gun show loopholes. weapon can't have any commonsense legislation on guns because of the nra. >> where do you get that idea? >> all i'm saying, cornell, is exactly what you're saying. there seems to be no discussion on the part of the nra or on the part of those who want gun control. you're right. the nra has said we don't see any need for further gun restrictions so they are not entering into the conversation. but when the nra brings up these issues about school safety, everyone says, no, it's about guns. >> no, i don't think everyone says it's about guns. you probably have got a majority of democrats right now on the hill that would side on to something around security guards more security guards in school. that's not the holdup. putting more security in school, i don't think anyone would be against that. but what the hold up is, you've got people dug in their ideological positions.
they won't move. >> let me -- i've got literally -- erick. >> because of the polling, when you poll people on this issue, they say they want restrictions but then they can't agree on the restrictions and you've got a number of democrats for states up for re-election that barack obama and john kerry both lost. they are not going to go along with this. where is the common ground? there probably isn't any. and sometimes bad things happen and you can't prevent them. >> you each get a one word answer, a yes or a no. are they going to avoid the fiscal cliff, erick? >> no. >> how about you, cornell? >> no. >> oh, my goodness. un anymore tea. thank you. happy new year to you all. i appreciate it. a ban on americans adopting russian children. vad lir putin's signature will make it official and it will crush hundreds of families. >> we rely on our faith and our hope in juice sus christ and that's what is going to get us
through this. but it would just be devastating for those kids. if you need them.even drops this. but it would just be devastating for those kids. is going to get . but it wld just be devastating for those kids. what is going to this. but it would just be devastating for those kids. f year. ♪ nice sweater. thank you. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills.
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the hopes of hundreds of american families are a pen stroke away from being crushed. russian president vladimir butte contin putin has indicated that he he will sign a parliament bill that will ban adoptions from americans. here is cnn's rafael romo. >> reporter: jenny and erin describe natalia as the sweetest 4-year-old boy you could ever meet. he lives in russia where the moyers visited him a few months
ago with the intention of adopting him. >> we know that there are special needs children in that area of the world and that is something that we are open to and the child that we are pursing, vatalia, has down's syndrome. >> reporter: the moyers who live in georgia are facing what could be an insurmountable obstacle. president vladimir putin has indicated he will sign it into law. >> if what they say is going to happen really happens, those families are not going to be able to adopt the kids even if all the legal processes already have been in place. but much more important, let's focus on the children. what it means is those children will remain institutionalized. >> reporter: some see the russian bill as retaliation for an american law that puts restrictions on russians accused of human rights violations. according to statics by the u.s. state department, the number of russian children adopted by
american couples has increased significantly in the last few years. in 2004, the number was more than 5800 compared to only 962 last year. over the last 20 years, americans have are adopted more than 60,000 russian children, more than any other country. >> we remain committed to supporting inter-country adoptions between our two countries. the welfare of children is too important to be linked to political aspects of our relationship. >> reporter: the bottom line, says this expert, it is ultimately the children who will suffer because there aren't enough families in russia willing to adopt. >> there are, by some estimates, 700, 750,000 children in orphanages, in institutions in russia. they don't have that many families stepping up. >> reporter: the need is especially great for children with special needs like vatali. >> we rely on our faith and hope in jesus christ and that's what is going to get us through this. but it would just be devastating for those kids. >> reporter: the moyers already
have two biological children, both boys, and one adopted american girl. they say their children are just waiting for their brother to come home. rafael romo, cnn, atlanta. groups, including amnesty international and human rights watch are urging lawmakers to reject the bill. the weather was a headache for lots of travelers in the northeast today but it was more than us pleasant for those on board this flight. and shoppers run from a mall that sounded like gunshots but turned out to be a different kind of threat. [ male announcer ] there's a better way... v8 v-fusion. vegetable nutrition they need, fruit taste they love. could've had a v8. or...try kids boxes!
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off the runway into the mud. you've got to hear how the pilot broke the news to air traffic controllers. cnn's sandra endo has the story and the recording. >> reporter: candy, a southwest airline departed long island new york this morning, veered off course just seconds after pushing away from the gate. listen to what the pilot told the control tower. >> we just taxied off the taxi way into the grass here. >> reporter: the flight with 129 passengers and five crew members on board was heading to tampa this morning. the plane ended up stuck in the mud. here's more of the transmission between the pilots and the tower just after it happened. >> we are going to have to deplane the people and get something in here to tow the aircraft back on the pavement. >> i'm on the phone right now with fire rescue and they are going to i'll close here for now and i'll just take everyone
around the runway. it's no big deal. let me know if you need any more assistance. >> okay. thank you. >> reporter: they are working to move the aircraft and evaluate it for damage and the faa is looking into what happened. >> we started backing out of the gate right on time, everything was going nice and smooth. we're cleared for takeoff. the next thing you know, you feel this -- the brakes got hit. you felt yourself get pushed back and forth and then the next thing you know we're listing to portside. >> reporter: the passengers were taken off the plane and boarded another jet to their final destination. candy? >> bottom line, nobody hurt. retailers recall a popular brand of baby recliner after several deaths. lisa sylvester's monitoring several top stories in the situation rhyme right now. lisa, what have you got on this? >> major u.s. retailers recalling something called the nap nanny recliner after the
reported deaths of five infants. the nap nanny poses a substantial ris are being to infants. babies can hang out over the side of the recliner. the company told cnn it stands behind the product 100%. a mall in sacramento, california, was locked down after a brawl in the food court. shoppers left screaming from the site. three teenagers were arrested. people panicked as they mistook loud sounds for gunshots but a mall security said no shots were fired during or after the fight. ee a security camera recorded a tornado. high winds blew through the store's front door as workers and shoppers took shelter in the back. the tornado came about 100 yards from smashing the store to
pieces. look at those incredible pictures, candy. >> i don't know what we did before we had security cameras. that's amazing. we see a lot more of the story. >> i know. a lot of video that you could watch all day, right? >> exactly. lisa sylvester, thank you. a looming strike that could shut down some of the country's busiest ports. we'll show how it could impact you. ?o [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all?
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performance in the iowa caucuses. >> game on. >> reporter: kicked off a battle for the republican nomination that few in washington had expected. the gop's odds on favorite, mitt romney stumbled in some of the early contests. he refused to release his tax returns allowing newt gingrich to take south carolina. >> we proved here in south carolina that people of power beats big money. >> reporter: but that big money eventually cleared the field and romney set his sights on the president. >> it's still about the economy and we're not stupid. >> reporter: at number nine, bain. not that one. that one. almost as soon as romney had had locked up the nomination, his former private investment capital was crashed by the super
pac and obama campaign. the attack ads put romney on defense for months. the president also got a lip fr lift from the supreme court. romney vowed to strike it down himself. >> i'm not one that's going to get rid of obama care. >> reporter: at number seven, gas. >> governor romney, do you feel that your gas has overshadowed your foreign trips? >> reporter: or in romney's case, his entire foreign trip where a campaign aide lashed out at reporters. a gaffe that went global. and then at number sick, the conventions were remembered less for the nominees and their running plates and more for -- >> what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that. can't do that to himself. >> reporter: the warmup acts
that stole the show. >> we believe that we're all in this together is a far better philosophy than you're on your own. >> reporter: number five, the september 11 attack in benghazi injected foreign policy into the race. >> justice will be done. >> reporter: a week later, the campaign shifted again to the hidden cram ra video of romney's comments on the 47% and an instant obama attack ad. number four, among the year's biggest moments. >> there are 47% of him who are with him. >> reporter: the gop needed a breakout moment and got one at number three. the debates and president obama's lackluster performance in the first face-off put romney back in the hunt. the president would have to redeem himself and polls show that he did. >> i said if i got bin laden in our sights, i would take that shot. >> reporter: but at number two
came the mother of october surprises. sandy. the devastating superstorm put much of the nation's focus on the president's handling of the crisis. and the high marks he received from a top romney surrogate, new jersey governor, chris christie. >> i can't thank the president enough for his personal concern and passion for our state. >> reporter: polls show the race moving towards the president who won handedly. >> this is he elecelection is o. >> reporter: the victory blindsided romney. >> the task of of moving forward. >> reporter: no surprise the biggest campaign story of the year. jim acosta, cnn, washington. don't his our "top 10 of 2012" special as cnn revisits the stories that captured this country's attention.
it's sunday night at 8:00 p.m. only on cnn. you're in "the situation room." happening now, a deadline that hasn't been getting much attention. but if dock workers go on strike this weekend, there may be a dramatic impact on almost everything you'd like to buy. also, president obama comes back from hawaii for the year's final showdown with congress. and syria's government unleashes its most sophisticated weapons of the war. missiles from iran. we'd like to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm candy crowley and you're in "the situation room." i want to begin with a crisis you probably don't know is coming and, of course, is just about to hit. barring a last minute deal,
union dock workers at more than a dozen major ports will go on strike this weekend. meaning just about everything we buy, from clothes to cars, can't be unloaded. the strike would impact 14 port along the eastern seaboard in gulf coast, including the port of baltimore and that's where we find cnn's brian todd live. the potential impact of this is pretty big. >> reporter: it's huge, candy. right here, this is one of the most crucial ports for commerce in this region. the sieger terminal. you can see massive container ships sitting in port. this is the port terminal with the bustling operations, containers still being moved in and out of here by a truck that are being offloaded from the ships here at the terminal. about 600,000 containers move through the city of baltimore but that could all come to a
grinding halt if they can't reach a deal. they move everything from our clothes to toys and electronics through the ports and into the marketplace. but a lot of those goods won't be making it to our stores if lo longshore men go on strike. if a deal can't can be reached between the shipping companies and longshore men. >> the impact would be great on the value side and cargo side. these ports are economic generators. >> richard sheer and others say the economic damage from a strike would reach well beyond the docks. >> everyone from your mom and pop retailers to the trucking company that has to go in and pick up the containers at the ports. >> coming at the same time is the fiscal cliff impasse.
it's a potentially devastating one-two bunch for the u.s. economy. neither the longshore's union or alliance shipping company would allow anyone to speak on camera. but officials knowledgeable of the negotiations say it boils down to one issue. the key sticking point is the payments that the longshore men get for them. they pay royalties for the containers based on their weight but the shipping companies want to freeze those royalty payments for current longshore men and eliminate them for future hires. the longshore men say the royalties are made to make up for automation. but if the shipping companies lockout the longshore men -- >> that would impact more than containers. that would impact all cargos at ports. that would have a much more impactful reaction.
$55 billion worth of cargo in an average month this year. candy? >> brian, i have to imagine retail companies and others who want those goods off the ships and in their stores have to be plenty worried. do they have a plan b to move those goods if there's a strike? >> reporter: yes. some of them do. clothing companies, footwear companies, other retailers, some of them have arranged to have their goods, their merchandise shipped early this year to maybe minimize the cost of this. others have arranged to use west coast ports and get their merchandise by rail or truck to the east coast. both of those alternatives would drive up the costs to consumers of all of these goods. >> that always seems to be the fallout on a lot of these things. brian, thanks a lot. now for the crisis we all know is coming, the fiscal cliff. the combination of tax hikes and
spending cuts hit in just five days. you need to take a deep breath. you probably won't notice much, if anything right away, even if congress and president can't reach a deal. jessica yellin is joining us. i have not talked to a soul in the last week who believes that they are actually going to get a deal before january 1st. what is the temperature at the white house at this point? >> reporter: negotiations, candy. what do you mean by negotiations? i can actually report right now, thanks to our own ted baron and dana bash that harry reid, the senate majority leader, and minority leader mitch mcconnell are meeting right now as we speak. perhaps there could be incremental progress. but as you well know, time is running out and the president today spent his day behind closed doors. he did cut his vacation short after he came home from hawaii to at least be here and try to
put on some kind of an agreement and as we go over the fiscal cliff, both sides seem to be working hard to do that. the president spoke with congressional leaders from hawaii last night and tried to get a sense of where we are and now it's sort of sits in the hands of the senate and the house comes back into session on sunday before they could get it through in the final 24 hours before we all go over that cliff. >> so what's the role of the president into all of this? i mean, what do you expect from him in the coming days and what is he doing to get this resolved? >> reporter: well, the rule he could play sl he could bring the leaders together, either here at the white house and try to get them to some agreement or just gentleman cajole them privately
on the phone and urging them to some middle ground but the other thing is the bully pull pit. he used that very effectively in the payroll tax fight, lobbying the american people to urge congress to take ak. with such little time, we're not sure if it can have much of an effect and given what senator mcconnell said today, we're not sure how much room there is really to negotiate. here's a little bit of what senate minority leader mitch mcconnell said earlier. >> republicans aren't about to write a blank check or anything senate democrats put forward just because he find ourselves at the edge of the cliff. that wouldn't be fair to the american people. that having been said, we'll see what the president has to propose. >> reporter: and candy, all day republicans have been clear, they need more details from democrats before they make a
decision. perhaps senator mcconnell is getting those from senator reid now. >> jessica yellin at the white house. what can i say? see you tomorrow right here. thanks. the year is ending with new worries about international terrorism. today the official news agency for the united arab emirates reported a suspected terror cell have been arrested for plotting attacks on the emirates and saudi arabia. fran townsend is joining us. she's a member of the cia advisory board and also was president clinton how usual is this cell that we're hearing about? >> you know, candy, while there is a discussion, there was a statement put out by the emirates, we don't know very much about the details. typically the emirates is an
infrastructure place, right? it's where they provide support, the terrorist groups look for support that counter pro live rag, banking. we don't often see operational terrorist cells and that's what makes this different. the emirates has a capable counterterrorism force and work very closely with saudi arabia and we have to presume that there was real cooperation because the targets were supposed to be in the emirates and saudi arabia but we don't know much beyond that. >> you know, i want to get this quote exactly right. this is from the official em rate news agency and materials aiming to conduct terrorist attacks. so this is not a region that you want people exporting material and equipment for terrorist attacks. how concerning is that part of the operation? >> it's very concerning.
in fact, the statement itself suggests that the targets may have been inside the emirates. that's unusual. and we've seen the staging ground and it would be unusual to see a target there inside the emirates. >> and this is an important banking and money hub. certainly for these terrorist organizations. so if this is al qaeda, this is the work of al qaeda, does it make sense for them to draw attention to them this way in. >> no and for just this reason. we should be clear, the authorities should be tremendous allies of the united states of their regional allies like saudi arabia in fighting terrorism but you're quite right. the emirates have been used by terrorist groups for al qaeda for infrastructure and banking and that sort of thing. for them to draw attention to themselves is sort of
counterproductive on their part and, again, it makes this unusual. >> fran townsend, i didn't get enough sleep over the christmas holiday. thanks. appreciate it. a dangerous escalation in syria's civil war. the assad regime is targeting its opponents with the most sophisticated weapons that we've seen in the civil war. and do you think harry potter's cloak is an invisible story, wait until you hear about the high-tech military camouflage. iced that everything was getting more expensive so we switched to the bargain detergent but i found myself using three times more than you're supposed to and the clothes still weren't as clean as with tide. so we're back to tide. they're cuter in clean clothes. thanks honey yeah you suck at folding [ laughs ] [ female announcer ] one cap of tide gives you more cleaning power than 6 caps of the bargain brand. [ woman ] that's my tide, what's yours?
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monitoring the situation from lebanon. what can you tell us? >> reporter: he wrapped up his trip to syria today. he spoke to reporters before he left. he actually said that there was no u.s. russia perhaps the u.s. and russia were trying to come up with a plan that would lead to a path of political transition in syria rather than this deadlocked diplomacy that we've seen for so many months. he also called for a transitional government in syria to be created with broad executive powers. meanwhile, that wasn't just the only bit of diplomacy today. you see moscow meeting with russian officials to the crisis in syria, and even if there is a
political transition, the fact of the matter is the opposition tells us they are not going to negotiate with anybody that will agree to any kind of a plan that will are remain assad in power for very much longer. candy? >> the death toll is quite high again. is there any sign that this flurry of democratic activity is making any difference on the ground? >> reporter: unfortunately, there is not. today over 100 killed, according to opposition activists. yesterday you had at least 140 killed. the day before that, 170. the day before that, close to 200. in the nearly two years since the crisis began, over 40,000 people have been killed and as we've seen so many times when there are delegations or envoys in syria forming some sort of path to peace, it doesn't make a difference on the ground there. no attempt at cease fire has ever taken route. the for a has not ceased and
it's only getting worse. opposition activists question bruhemian and say he has not made a difference and believe bashar assad regime is trying to buy more time in their crackdown against the people. thank you. >> thank you so much for your time tonight. while moving at a glas yell pace, we're seeing the syrian forces. >> u.s. military officials are telling me that syria fired at least two iranian-supplied short-range missiles called fatta a-110s. this missile is much more accurate than a scud and it's a real tradeoff on the part of the syrians between the longer range scud and the shorter range missile that's more accurate at striking rebel targets. what are we talking about here?
this fis sell has a range of 125 miles. scud, 185 miles. longer range. but the fatta is mufateh is muc more accurate while scud can hit with accuracy of 1400 feet within a target range. so what we are seeing is another turn by the syrian regime for a much more precise targeting against these rebel strongholds. >> so can we expect to see more of this? >> everyone will see more of these ballistic missiles, both these, the skuds, whatever they can being launched and this is why nato using dutch and patriot batteries because the concern is so great. the missiles get launched and could hit inside turkey. that draws nato in and it would be very difficult at that point.
we're going to start to see a layer of protection put into place. >> for a while i thought what we were worried about is syria unleashing the chemical weapons on its only people and now it just seems -- >> it could be more deadly. it's just escalating. >> barbara starr, thanks. in the day since the tragedy at sandy hook elementary school, many of you have given your support and money to the victims of the horrific shooting. but, next, why one woman's alleged call for donations has put her under arrest. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." it's a staggering to think, where is it all going to come from? we're pushing the limits on land. we're already seeing food shortages in some parts of the world so we need to pick up the pace i think. >> and take it to the next level off show and open up farming. [ male announcer ] this december, remember --
after the shooting at sandy hook elementary, the community has received so much support, it's getting overwhelmed. lisa, what's the latest? >> the town has received so many gifts since the massacre that one local official is kindly asking people to stop sending them. they are having trouble managing the volume of mail that they are getting.
the community is very grateful for the support but is asking people to donate items to families in their own community. watch out, a new york woman is accused of claiming her to be a relative of one of the victims and soliciting donations for the schild child's funeral. she says she's the victim of what she calls digital artists. hosni mubarak is headed back to a military hospital. doctors discovered that he fractured three ribs when he slipped in a prison's hospital bathroom. he's serving life in prison for his death of protesters. imagine being four times harder to get a job as a flight attendant than it is to get into harvard? looking strictly by the numbers,
it is true. bloomberg reports 22,000 people applied in just one week for 300 positions posted for the job of flight attendant for delta airlines. the company's ceo says applications were coming in at a rate of two per minute. and if you travel to france, speaking of traveling, and get a craving burger king has opened a brampbl at branch at the airport. now if you're traveling to france, you can have a whopper, although i don't think you're a vegetarian are you? >> yes, i am. but you've got to wonder what they saw in their research that made them go back to france. >> i think it's just globalization. you have more people traveling. you have americans -- it's widely known that americans are all over the market. bigger market and place to go. not too terribly surprising. >> lisa sylvester, thanks. new englanders are shoveling
snow while southerners are shir v shivering. the latest on what is a winter storm and what is coming next. what's that in reindeer-power? [ laughs ] [ pencil scratches ] [ male announcer ] chevy's giving more. get the best offer of the year -- 0% apr financing for 60 months plus $1,000 holiday bonus cash. plus trade up for an additional $1,000 trade-in allowance. hurry. bonus cash ends january 2nd. i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade. everyone tells a little white lie now and then. but now she wants my recipe [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. share brotherly love.
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a powerful winter storm has dropped record-breaking amounts of snow. burying sidewalks from arkansas to maine. it's not done yet. in the midst of the busy holiday travel season, travelers are not happy about it. more snow is in the forecast for where you are. i don't know how you get ready but are they ready for more? >> reporter: they are ready for more in the next couple of days but i will tell you, take a look at what you see behind me. this is just part of what the storm left behind and even
though this area is used to snow, the storm caused chaos for many people trying to travel this holiday week. a powerful winter storm caused delays and many downright frustrated with winter. >> i've been to six different storms. everyone is out of shovels, out of salt. >> we've been here since 3:30. we got on a plane and sat for three hours. or plan b, be we spend more time with the grandkids here. >> reporter: airport suffered numerous cancellations and passengers are still facing hurdles. according to flightaware.com, more than 400 flights across the country have been canceled today. in columbus, ohio, passengers used the much needed time to catch up on rest. pittsburgh, pennsylvania, plows
hit the ground but it wasn't enough to keep the heavy snow off the streets. greyhound buses were forced to cancel many of their routes. in hamburg, new york, commuters are frustrated. >> it's about a 25-minute drive usually. tonight it's an hour. >> reporter: and skiers are delighted. fema is urging people to update their emergency kits for cold weather including blankets, dpl gloves, first aid material, and a battery-powered radio. but in syracuse, new york, this is no match for people used to this weather. >> it's business as usual. i think a lot of people are on vacation for the holidays. but usually it's good travel until you get too many people on the road. that's usually the bigger problem, is the people trying to drive in it. >> reporter: and the roads could have been worse because it's a
holiday week, a lot of people didn't go into the office. also, schools and universities are off making it that much easier for cleanup crews to do their job, candy. >> that's true if you don't have to travel through it. thank you. parts of the northeast, this storm isn't done yet. i want to bring in cnn meteorologist chad myers. there's a lot of snow that we're talking about but it's winter in the northeast. >> and it's syracuse, the snowbelt. you can expect that. i think you can draw the line at 21. it's pretty until you're 21 because then all of a sudden you have to stop playing in it and go to work in it. then you can take time off and enjoy the higher elevations. there will be quite a bit of know for some time to come. it's not going to be melting for any time soon. brunswick, a foot of snow to come he or she.
n can you imagine waking up tomorrow, into part of new brunswick with another foot to shovel. after you've shoveled a foot already. 21 inches of snow. the snow didn't hamper new york city airports today but the wind did. at least an hour to an hour and a half delays at the airports. candy? >> wow. again, it's really pretty. that's a lot of know to try to get through. thanks so much. >> and winter has just started. >> it's true. it's true. thanks so much. a family-owned businesses facing fines of more than $1 million a day. details of its fight against obama care. and it's like an invisibility cloak from harry potter only this one is real and the u.s. military want it. what a night, huh? but, um, can the test drive be over now? head back to the dealership?
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a christian-owned firm is going to pay a steep price for fighting obama care. lisa silver sister has the details. >> this is a case that's being watched closely by businesses. what happens when a for-profit business, hobby lobby, that started as a mom and pop shop. it has grown to a $2 billion operation with 525 stores throughout the country. the stores are closed on sunday. now the owners are in court over their beliefs. they are fighting the new
federal health care mandate staunchly opposed to viding coverage for the morning after bill which they say is tan ta mount to abortion. >> our basic point is the government can't put a company in a position of choosing between its faith and the law. >> reporter: institutions asked for a similar exemption from providing contraceptives to their workers. >> there was a big debate over who should get exempted. churches have all been exempted interest this but other religious our za religious organizations have not. religious colleges, hospitals would be included in the exemption to not have to provide contraceptives as part of the new health care law. >> reporter: but for-pro ffit companies have not been exempted by the mandate. hobby lobby is mandating the sir kit court of appeals but they are up a deadline of january 1st
when the health care plan kicks in for the new year. in less than a week, hobby lobby is facing incredibly steep fines. >> the government is start to imposing fines of 1$1.3 milliona day. i'm just going to repeat that, $1.3 million a day are the fines that hobby lobby is facing from the government. >> reporter: the company's lawyers asked the u.s. supreme court to impose a temporary injunction. sonia sotomayor denied the request, saying that the am pli can'ts am pli can'ts did not meet the demand for the extraordinary relief. president obama has consistently say that contraception is a private issue between her woman and her doctor and not a woman and her boss. >> we received a statement from the hobby lobby company saying
that they will continue their appeal and reiterating that they don't have any intention of paying for the morning after pill. there is no precedent for this. it's not clear exactly, candy, how the irs will connect these fees. we're in brand-new territory. >> we are. there will be lot of things coming into play this year and nextear for health care. it's going to make for interesting news. thank you so much, lisa, appreciate it. invisibility cloak made harry potter disappear. we'll show how the next generation of camouflage could do the same for u.s. troops. and a dying mother leaves behind an emotional message to her young children and the world. we're all having such a great year in the gulf,
we've decided to put aside our rivalry. 'cause all our states are great. and now is when the gulf gets even better. the beaches and waters couldn't be more beautiful. take a boat ride or just lay in the sun. enjoy the wildlife and natural beauty. and don't forget our amazing seafood. so come to the gulf, you'll have a great time. especially in alabama. you mean mississippi. that's florida. say louisiana or there's no dessert. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home.
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carries out a devastating attack. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room." lisa, what's the latest? >> militants in pakistan have kidnapped 21 security personnel in a huge attack. more than 200 people suspected to be members of the taliban swarmed two military camps in northwest pakistan around 2:00 a.m. they came in both on foot and in vehicles and a funfight followed that lasted more than an hour. two security forces were killed and one was injured. also in pakistan today, the son of the late benazir bhutto stepped into her steps five years after she was assassinated. he spoke at a rally with his father. the president said his son's education is finished and his training has begun. two-time prime minister benazir bhutto was killed at a campaign rally in 2007. and it's not all doom and
gloom for the u.s. economy. home sales moved at the fastest pace in more than two years. sales rose more than 4.5%. sale were in-flighted by a temporary tax credit for home buyers. and investing more than $773 million in the manufacturing plants in michigan, the. says it will update and he can pand production lines at six plants in the state and creating more than 2,000 hourly jobs. it's all part of a deal that ford made to invest more than $6 billion in u.s. plants by the year 2015. and a mother who hoped to spend christmas with her husband and two children turned to the online community for help. she was facing mountain bills and a major surgery. our affiliate wftx has her story. >> in this four-minute youtube video, jennifer johnson doesn't say a word but yet says so much
as she tells the story of her heart condition that would kill her just two month after she recorded this video. choking back tears, the 30-year-old mother uses flash cards to describe her fear of leaving her two young kids behind, calling them her heartbeats. >> she had a very big heart. >> robert proposed to her an valentine ds day when she was five months pregnant. a test revealed that she had a condition with her heart restricted blood flow. she describes the moment she learned of her condition. she saidi just had two beautiful children. why me? she found inspiration from this 18-year-old from texas who recorded this story a week before he died last christmas. >> and she told her story. >> i think it's more powerful
than her actually speaking. >> she talks about a sear radios of bumps in the road, the need for open heart surgery. and she ended the video smiling so she could love and care for her other heartbeats. jennifer died a week ago. >> what was the last thing she said to you? >> i just want to go home. >> johnson now having to raise their two kids on his own, finding strength from her and hoping her story can help others. >> heart disease is serious. this could be a message to a lot of other people. get your heart checked out. >> that was from our affiliate wftx. candy, those story, they always make me tear up, especially having those two young children. our hearts really go out to the family, candy. >> absolutely. and just it also reminds you of how powerful the internet can be for good as well as for bad. but certainly it shares a lot of
stories. that's a sad one. thanks so much, lisa. we have new news about secretary of state hillary clinton who has been recovering from a concussion. elise labott is joining us. >> hillary clinton had been recovering at home. she had a terrible stomach virus that she caught on a trip earlier this month and then unfortunately fainted due to rehydration. she's been recovering at home under doctor orders but we understand secretary clinton will be back at home next week. the secretary is looking forward to resuming her schedule back here at the state department. >> also, i know that there had been some talk of one more foreign trip for her. is that out or in? >> well, she's not really ready
to travel any time soon as per her doctor's orders but there are a lot of questions about whether secretary clinton would have been up to testifying on benghazi affair. as you know, she had her deputies sitting in for her because she was under doctor's orders not able to come to work. plans have been made for her planning to testify and i think for secretary clinton she definitely wanted the chance to have congress hear from a lot of congressmen and women looking forward to her story about how she approached the attack in benghazi that killed ambassador stevens and three others. she's looking forward to that. whether there is a farewell tour towards the end of january, i'm not sure. definitely not planning to travel any time soon, candy. >> thank you so much, echl lise department, ef tells us hillary clinton no foreign trips, but she'll be testifying on benghazi some time in late january. thanks a lot, elise. this year, many of the top
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here's a look at this hour's hot shots. here in washington, marine one approaches the white house lawn, carrying the president. in brazil, beachgoers soak up the record heat wave sweeping the coast. in new york, workers installed bulbs on the new year's eve ball in times square. and in germany, an animal keeper holds a tomato frog in her hand. hot shots, pictures coming in from around the world. the military puts tremendous time and resources into designing camouflage, and it
could soon make them disappear. here's cnn's pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence. >> reporter: camouflage can be the difference between a soldier getting shot and going home. so a lot's riding on the next generation designed to outfit troops. it's only been eight years since the army spent $5 billion on m camo that critics say didn't fool anyone. soldiers complained to the paint where the army abandoned their one size fits all universal pattern. so they were looking for camouflage that they could use everywhere? >> correct. and it didn't work anywhere. >> reporter: guy cramer is one of the designers competing to win the army's next multi-million dollar contract. this summer, he showed us the science behind every shape, size, and shade of these pixels. >> you now have your camouflage. so we're trying to trick the brainseeing things that
aren't actually there. >> reporter: digital shapes creates depth and shadows where none exist. that's today's design. >> what's coming up down the road and very quickly is the harry potter cloak. >> what is that? >> reporter: with that fictional cloak, harry isn't just camouflaged, he's invisible. >> my body's gone! >> how invisible are we talking here? if i walked into a room with a soldier wearing one of these cloaks -- >> you wouldn't see him at all. he would be completely invisible to you. >> reporter: this isn't make-believe. the military has seen this so-called quantum stealth technology. it works by bending the light around an object, even concealing most of a person's shadow. imagine what that could do for a sniper, hiding in a field, or the american pilots who ejected over libya when their fighter jets crashed last year. >> they could actually pull out,
very similar to what they carry with a survival blanket, throw it over top of them, and unless you walked right into them, you wouldn't know that they were there. >> reporter: so what was once firmly in the world of make-believe, could quickly become quite real. and the science is in the special fabric, so you don't need a power source or some instruction manual to make it work. theoretically, any soldier, even in the most remote location could quickly put it on and put it to work. chris lawrence, cnn, the pentagon. this week, we're looking back at 2012's top stories. cnn's ali velshi and christine romans put together a review of the year's top ten business stories, and you're going to notice a pattern. with only a few exceptions, the year in politics heavily influenced the year in business. >> number ten, apple. the first year without steve jobs and a company that's trying to prove under a new ceo that it
can still invent things that we didn't even know we needed that we would buy, faster than anything's ever been sold in personal technology before. number nine, the u.s. stock market. despite all those worries about the fiscal cliff and maybe slower growth in the u.s. economy, the stock market has had a great year. too bad you missed out. the smart money's been in the market. the rest of us have been worried about the fiscal cliff. >> number eight, facebook's ipo. hundreds of millions of people like facebook, but investors did not on its first day as a public company. trading glitches at the nasdaq and questions about the company's ability to make money on mobile users pummeled the stock, which has yet to climb its way back to its ipo price. >> number seven, mother meyer. the new ceo of yahoo! who announced that she was just going to take a two-week maternity leave, as she was
going to try to turn this company around. 37 years old, it looks like a mother's touch is exactly what this company needed. >> number six, mother nature. an intense drought in the southwest that scorched the corn crop. and who can forget superstorm sandy. neighborhoods along the northeast swept away, millions without power and damages as high as $50 billion, raising lots of questions about u.s. infrastructure and whether we should be spending some money to fix it. >> number five, china. is china slowing or is china leading the world? we do know that china will be the biggest economy in the world by 2020, for sure by 2030. >> china. >> china. >> china. >> china. >> china. >> china also getting more than a few mentions during the presidential campaign, probably because it's pretty clear that china is both a competitor and a partner. >> number four, europe. the european union was fractured by too much debt and the austerity plans to fix it. that saga is far from over.
number three, the housing market. finally, finally bottomed out. the combination of low home prices and continued record low mortgage rates set off a building and buying spree. well-healed investors began buying entire neighborhoods, but first-time buyers were also able to get a home of their own for the first time in years. as long as they had a hefty down payment. >> number two. cnn projects that barack obama will be re-elected president of the united states. >> the election. more than just about obama and romney, it was about socialism and capitalism, about spending and cutting, about what kind of role government should have in your life. >> number one is the fiscal cliff. lawmakers saw it coming, but didn't bother to pay any attention to it, until after the election. had they put politics aside and dealt with it earlier, who knows how strong the u.s. economy would be right now. >> don't miss our "top 10 of
2012" special. cnn revisits the biggest stories of the year in money, crime, politics, and even scandals. that's cnn, sunday night, 8:00 eastern. happening now, members of congress are called back to work with time running out to avoid the fiscal cliff. we'll meet one man who's reaching into his own pockets to help america ease its enormous debt. and we're learning how north korea deceived the world, to launch a rocket with the ability to strike the u.s. wolf blitzer is off. i'm candy crowley. you're in "the situation room." on the surface, you might think there's new movement toward avoiding the fiscal cliff that starts making an impact
just five days from now. president obama is back in washington and plans to meet with congressional leaders tomorrow. and house members have been told to return to the capital sunday. but there's still no evidence this standoff is anywhere close to being resolved. here's our cnn senior congressional correspondent, dana bash. >> reporter: and candy, you know that even speaks to what is going on here, which is virtually nothing. jessica yellin reported in the last hour that our ted barrett, our senate producer, saw harry reid go into mitch mcconnell's office. well, it turns out that reid walked back out, and told ted barrett that they did not talk about the fiscal cliff at all. that sort of defies logic, but so it goes, that's what he said. and it sort of speaks to the warning that i got earlier this week, which is that most people here think that if anything is going to get done before the fiscal cliff deadline, that it won't happen until the pressure is on, on or around december 31st. that's practically and probably why what we saw today was suspended animation.
this is one place in washington free of gridlock.baristas are writing the words, "come together" on customers' coffee. >> people are tired that congress can't come to a compromise or agree on anything. >> reporter: but even that doesn't seem to be moving lawmakers. >> taxes are approaching the wrong direction. come the first of this year, americans will have less income than they have today. >> reporter: senate democratic leader harry reid, back from christmas break, was highly pessimistic about passing anything to avert the fiscal cliff and keeping all americans' taxes from going up january 1st. >> i have to be very honest, mr. president. i don't know, time wise, how it can happen now. >> five days until the fiscal cliff, and both sides are engaged in legislative and political chicken. the president called each of the four congressional leaders
before leaving hawaii. in his conversation with the senate republican leader, mitch mcconnell told the president, he must see details of any democratic proposal before agreeing to allow a vote, according to a mcconnell aide, who also said it was the first time the two men talked since thanksgiving. >> we'll see what the president has the to propose. members on both sides of the aisle will review it. and then we'll decide how best to proceed. hopefully itthere's still time r an agreement that saves the taxpayers from a wholly preventable economic crisis. >> democrats say the only way to avert that crisis at this late date is with the president's long-held position. keep tax cuts in place for households making under $250,000. >> there is absolutely no reason, none, not to protect these americans from a tax hike. >> but republicans say public pronouncements are not enough. they need and expect to get more
details. meanwhile, the blame game is getting even more personal. >> john boehner seems to care more about keeping his speakership than keeping the nation on firm, financial footing. >> reporter: as democrats try to take political advantage of the house still being home for christmas. >> we're not working. every democrat, every republican ought to be here. the speaker ought to call us back into session. >> well, the speaker is calling the house back into session. they're not going to get here, though, candy, until sunday. that's two days before the fiscal cliff deadline and every americans' taxes go up. house leaders did reiterate, if the senate passes something, the house will take it up, which is different from what we've seen before, but it is important to everyone size that it is still a big, big "if," if the senate can pass anything at all before december 31st. >> i'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the minority leader, that is senator reid, and senator mcconnell -- sorry, i had a brain freeze
again, that senator reid and senator mcconnell met and didn't talk about the fiscal cliff. that's crazy to me. did you say, what did you talk about? >> reporter: well, ted barrett was down there. i was not there. they said they talked about other senate business. as i said to you earlier, it sort of defies logic, but reid is also insisting that he went over there to talk about other things. you know, it's head skraecratch. >> yes, it is. i imagine we'll see you tomorrow. thanks so much, dana. >> thanks, candy. another possible blow to the american economy could be in a matter of days. dock workers are threatening a strike that would shut down sea ports from massachusetts to texas. billions of dollars of imports to this country would be affected and corporate america is worried. our brian today is at the port of baltimore, where a strike would hit hard. brian, what kind of economic impact would this strike have overall? >> a massive impact, candy. the ports like the one behind me and the dock workers who
off-load the containers, they are responsible for getting our clothes, our shoes, our electronics to the stores. just billions of dollars worth of goods pass through these ports, just about every week. and you're talking about 14 ports, on the east coast and on the gulf coast, that could be affected by this. those ports, on the east coast and gulf coast, handle about $55 billion worth of cargo in a given month this year. so you're talking about massive amounts of goods and other things that come through these ports that we rely on every day. but it's not just the merchandise we're talking about. we're also talking about jobs. you know, farmers, retailers, the truckers that come in and take these containers out, those jobs are also impacted by this. and by the way, we've been seeing trucks come out of this port all day long. it is a huge circulation here. so you're talking about just about a major impact. now, excuse me, as far as dollars and cents are concerned, we do have something to compare this to. here's jonathan gold from the national retail federation, talking about that.
>> when you take a look back at the last time we had a full shutdown of the coast-wide ports, back in 2002, when you had the entire west coast that was shut down for ten days, for a lockout, most economists agreed, that cost the economy about $1 billion a day and took over six months to recover from. >> now, in that work action, president bush stepped in and invoked what's called the taft/hartley act. it's essentially a presidential power that can prevent a strike or end one. president bush did that. there are calls for president obama to do something similar to try to prevent this strike, but no word from the white house on whether he's going to do that. candy? >> brian, you talked about the impact on goods like clothes and shoes, electronics. what about cars? i know the port behind you is a major entry port for automobiles being shipped to the u.s. >> reporter: absolutely it is. number one transit point for automobiles, at least in this entire region, candy. but what we're told is that this
strike, for the moment, is expected to affect only containers. so automobiles and other types of cargo coming in, not in containers, would not necessarily be affected by this, unless, we are told, there is a lockout. if there is a lockout, this strike could really broaden and affect automobiles and other cargo. you're talking about a real devastation at that point to the u.s. economy. >> brian todd, watching what may be another blow to the economy coming this weekend. thanks so much, brian. hundreds of additional flights were canceled today as a powerful winter storm pushed deep into the northeast. extreme weather has jammed holiday travel across the u.s. northerners are used to the snow and bitter cold, but arkansas is still reeling from a record-breaking 9-inch snowfall on christmas day. at least nine deaths are being blamed on the severe weather, including two children in arkansas. i want to bring in cnn's severe weather expert, chad myers. chad, is this over? are we in the middle of it? where are we in this particular storm? >> it depends on where you live.
if you are in atlanta, canada, new brunswick, you are just getting going. if you're in new york city, the cold air is coming down the hudson, called the big hudson hawk. it comes around, it sweeps all the way back down, and then we get this cold wind that just rolls right down the hudson river, right into new york city. if you're off to the east, you're still going to get snow into maine and all the way up even into new brunswick. and that snow could be heavy at times. we're talking about another foot of snow in some spots. but not in the big cities. we are done here. other than the cold, it's done. and then here you go. the snow here from eastern maine, right on over toward atlanta, canada. everywhere you see pink, that's a foot of snow or more. the issue with these canceled flights, snow, wind, whatever it might have been, is that most flights are very close to full. we have five or six open seats on any plane. if you cancel a flight, and all of a sudden 130 people are looking for new seats, and there's only five new seats on the next flight, and then five on the next, and five on the
next, think about how long it takes to get that one canceled flight back on board some other planes. either going someplace else, doing some other kind of connection. but the gate agents have been doing their best. give them a smile and tell them thanks for working on christmas or thanksgiving or new year's eve. because when they're there and they have conditions like this, they are working hard for you. candy? >> nothing like holiday travel and a big storm, living through it at the airports. thanks so much, chad myers, appreciate pinpoint. america ee's oldest living former president is fighting to get out of intensive care. we will have an update on president george h.w. bush's health. and you may be surprised about the way actor matthew mcconaughey looks, as the actor talks to cnn about keeping kids healthy. meet the five-passenger ford c-max hybrid. c-max says ha. c-max says wheeee. which is what you get, don't you see? cause c-max has lots more horsepower than prius v, a hybrid that c-max also bests in mpg.
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america's hoamerica e america's oldest living former president. cnn's miguel marquez joins us from houston. what's the latest? >> reporter: the latest seems to be that he is sick, but not critical. even his current chief of staff, coming out today, gene becker, with a statement saying, you know, put the harps back in the closet. he's not going anywhere yet. when i read you a little bit of that statement, will he be in the hospital for a little while, wrote becker, yes. he is 88 years old, he had a terrible case of bronchitis, which is then complications, because of he had parkinson's disease. he got out of the hospital, went back in with the bronchitis, and it really took it out of him, it sounds like. now he's beyond the bronchitis, but they're trying to get him back up to his fighting weight, back into shape so they can get him out of the hospital, get rid of that fever that seems to be
keeping him down a little bit. his spokesperson today did say, make no make about it, this guy's humor, his trademark sense of humor is in tact and all of his family members seem to say the same. so it seems as though he's getting better, but it's going to take some time. candy? >> miguel marquez, that's great news. we wish the former president well. thanks for your report. i asked cnn's chief medical correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta for his take on the former president's health and the treatment he's getting in the intensive care unit. >> age, obviously, has to play a factor here. there's no two ways about that. and i think, you know, i'll tell you, as a physician, when we have an elderly patient in the icu, that's usually the first person, the first patient that we're making rounds on, and, you know, everybody has a heightened level of concern. but what we're hearing from the office, as you know, candy is, look, he's talking, even joking around with his doctors.
he's in good spirits. they think that this is an abundance of caution. that is all fine and good, but, again, from a medical perspective. you've got to, you know, keep tabs on several different things. and i think that's what the doctors are probably doing, sending him to the icu, so he can be more closely monitored. >> cnn's sanjay gupta. now, another top nra official is speaking out about the connecticut school shooting. and insisting that people who support gun rights are not crazy. we'll discuss the state of the gun control debate right now. she's still the one for you - you know it even after all these years. but your erectile dysfunction - you know,that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently.
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story. >> yeah, candy, a lot of people and a lot of parents are watching this story very close my. russian president vladimir putin says he sees no reason not to sign the bill, approved by both houses of parliament. the controversial measure bans the adoption of russian children by u.s. families. the move is seen as retaliation for a new u.s. law imposing travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in russia. last year, about 1,000 russian children were adopt eed by americans. hillary clinton's spokesman says the secretary of state plans to return to work next week. she's been at home, recovering from a concussion she suffered after she fainted and fell a few weeks ago, while battling a stomach virus. and we're told she looks forward to resuming her schedule, which would pave the way for her to give delayed testimony before congress on the benghazi attack. and hawaii has a new senator. democrat brian shotts. the former lieutenant governor was appointed by the governor just yesterday to fill the seat of the late daniel inouye. in fact, shotts told reporters
that he had to scramble to buy an overcoat before he flew to washington overnight with president obama on air force one. and congressman ed markey says he will run for the u.s. senate seat now held by john kerry. the massachusetts democrat is the first to publicly announce he wants the job, since kerry was nominated last week to be the next secretary of state. i don't think that's too surprising, candy. a lot of people thought markey might throw his name into the ring. >> he's been in the house for a very long time. and special elections are fun. i look forward to this. we also might see scott brown again, who used to be senator for two years. >> exactly. and of course, he was just defeated, but, you know, it's not every until it's over. scott brown might values that seat as well. who knows how this is all going to play out. >> always another election. >> exciting times, candy. >> thanks so much, lisa sylvester. america's debt is enormous and growing. but one man thinks he can make a dent by crushing cans. his story, ahead. [ woman ] ring. ring.
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happening now, u.s. officials reveal how they were deceived by north korea when it pulled off a surprising and threatening rocket launch. one man, fed up with inaction in washington, is spending his own money to try to reduce america's debt. and actor matthew mcconaughey talks to cnn about his campaign to keep kids healthy, at a time when some are wondering about his health. wolf blitzer is off. i'm candy crowley. you're in "the situation room." the president of the national rifle association is speaking out about the connecticut school shooting. david keene is talking about new calls for gun control and the nra's controversial proposal to put armed volunteers in american schools. he spoke to cnn's carol
costello. >> when wayne la pierre spoke about a week ago, he suggested that what has to happen and what should happen is that in every school district, administrators, teachers, and parents should sit down and ask what's needed to protect the students of that school. some of them will be want police officers there. others of them will want private security guards. there may be some places where they want volunteers to do it. we're willing to work with everybody on those questions. >> should someone who sells a gun have to report that somewhere? i mean, shouldn't the police -- >> if i sell -- no. if i sell a gun to my son, if i sell a gun to my wife, if i sell a gun to my cousin, the answer is no. >> so what if that gun is used in a crime and police can't find where that gun came from. shouldn't it be easy for police to do such a thing? >> this country does not keep and should not keep a national gun registry. >> why is that? >> because a national gun registry can on the one hand,
lead to the sort of thing that happened in new york, which is the purpose of this interview, and secondly, because history shows that nations that register guns are in a position, then, to take the guns away from the citizens. we have a right, under the second amendment, in this country, unless we're criminals, unless we're in a prohibited group, unless there's a law against us having a firearm, we have a right to have one. >> there's got to be some middle ground. it's not either/or. and you're kind of making it sound that way. like there is no middle ground on this. this is the way it should be, period. and that gets us nowhere. and that's the problem we have in this country. >> you know, if you expect me to say, yeah, let's jettison the second amend, then there's no middle ground. >> i'm not asking you to do that at all. >> the second amendment is valuable and worth preserving. >> joining me for today's strategy session, our democratic strategist and pollster, cornell belcher, president of the brilliant corners research and strategies is here with cnn contributor erick erickson, who is editor in chief of
redstate.com. gentleman, thank you both for being here. i want to take a step and look at this, quote, gun debate that we're having. and it seems to me there are three debates. and neither debate is integrated into the other. there is a debate on how this country deals with mental health. there is a debate on the kinds of guns that are available. and there is a debate on school safety. looking at this, cornell, can you see something in the nra's school safety program that you think is a good idea, somewhere to start a conversation? >> well, it's problematic. because i think the nra is -- and i watched it, their press conference the other day. and i've got to tell you, as a consultant, someone who consults organizations and people in politics, i think it was absolutely disaster. i mean, they blamed everyone but themselves. they position themselves as being victims. and then, didn't really sort of offer up anything new or change.
look, what happened in connecticut was a moment that i think changed the conscious of americans. it was a jolt to the conscious of americans in the same way that 9/11 was a jolt to the conscious of americans. and the nra's position right now was simply not tenable. when you have in your own cnn poll,ing, over 70% of americans thinking there should be some restrictions on guns, and thinking that, yes, we should have a registry for gun owners. and for the nra to say, well, any sort of laws or amendments that you make, you know, it sort of takes away our ability to have guns or against the second amendment, that becomes real problematic. because they are not where the majority of americans are. the majority of americans are not where the nra is on this issue. >> erick, let me try with you and go back in with cornell. i guess my point here is that when you are looking at this discussion, it's not a discussion at all. everybody has their own sort of area they want to talk about, and no one is saying, well, why
don't we discuss school safety. maybe, i mean when, and the nra makes this point, when we want to make the president safe, he's surrounded by people with guns. when we want to make money safe at banks, we put men with guns there. so it's not as though it's a foreign concept to protect what is dear to people, what is important with guns. >> candy, i'm really frustrated with the conversation, because people are talking past each other and not to each other. the gun control advocates, the gun rights advocates. if you look at columbine in 1989, it was after the semi-automatic weapons ban, the assault weapons ban. there was an armed police officer there. the casualties would have been much more extensive had he not engaged the shooters and his deputy working with him began evacuating people from the schools. so that is a conversation worth having. the problem here, i think for gun control advocates, and for gun rights advocates, is there's
this desire to do something in the face of this tragedy. we didn't have it last year in the colorado shooting. we've got it now after the campaign's over. but what are they going to do? the last time they did something, they did an assault weapons ban that really didn't do anything. the violence prevention center said it didn't really solve any problems. it caused them to make guns look less scary. >> there seems to be no discussion on the part of the nra or on the part of those who want gun control. i mean, you're right. the nra has said, we don't see any need for any further gun restrictions. so they're not entering into the conversation. but when the nra brings up these issues about school safety, everyone says, no, it's about guns. >> no, i don't think everyone does say it's about guns. you've probably got a majority of democrats, you know, right now on the hill that would side on to something around security guards, more security guards in school. that's not the holdup. putting more security if school, i don't think anyone would be against that. but what the holdup is, you've
got people sort of dug into their ideological positions and they won't move. >> i've got, literally, 30 seconds -- erick -- >> it's more complicated than this, candy, largely because of the polling. >> it is. >> when you poll people on this issue, they say they want restrictions but then they can't agree on the restrictions. and you've got a number of democrats from states up for re-election that barack obama and john kerry both lost, they're not going to go along with this. so where's the common ground? there probably isn't anything, and sometimes bad things do happen and you can't prevent them. >> okay, i've got to go. i had two subjects for you, so a one-word answer. are they going to avoid the fiscal cliff, erick? >> no. >> how about you, cornell? >> no. >> oh, my goodness. unanimity, thank you! happy new year to you all. cornell belcher, erick erickson, i appreciate it. many americans are fed up with watching politicians bicker, while the u.s. gets closer to that fiscal cliff and the federal debt keeps rising. some people, very few, are
taking matters into their own hands by reaching into their own pockets. cnn's kyung lah talked with one man who's trying to make a difference. >> well, candy, this is not a young guy. he's been around for 85 years. and in that time, he says he has heard a lot of hot air coming out of washington, and finally, especially as we're watching these fiscal cliff talks continue or not continue, he has had it. in his unheated garage, 85-year-old garcia is working to fix the fiscal cliff, one can at a time. how much money have you sent the government? >> a little bit over $3,000. >> reporter: $3,197.88, to be exact. all tracked on a hand-written ledger. the last three years, garcia has been paying the government $50 a month of his postal service pension and money from cans he
collects. >> we are paying absolutely too much interest. >> reporter: it really bothers you? >> it bothers me, because it makes no sense. >> reporter: sense something garcia's wife of 59 years thinks her husband could use. do you think he's crazy? >> loco? >> reporter: call him crazy, but there is an entire federal office, the bureau of public debt, that collects money from hundreds of mr. garcias. this office in parkersburg, west virginia, was set up by president kennedy, so citizens could pay down the national debt. this year alone, it's collected $7.7 million in gifts, about $90 million since it was established. but $90 million isn't that much, especially when you consider the federal deficit is $16 trillion and climbing. to retire the debt, every single american would have to pay $50,000. but garcia says, you got to start somewhere. especially when washington
won't. the partisan bickering has bothered him since -- >> 1992. >> reporter: that's when garcia first wrote his congressman, suggesting a formula to eliminate the death. the depression era kid and army veteran says he's giving back to a country that's given him so much. a sense that's infectious. his daughter is now collecting cabs at work. his grandson drives garcia to friends' houses, just to collect more cans. garcia knows that his monthly money orders won't avert the fiscal cliff, but his priest says that's not the message garcia's sending to congress. >> in order to really solve the $16 trillion national debt, you have to sacrifice. >> reporter: politicians talk about kicking the can down the road. one american has decided that road has to end, and it might as well be here. so if you want to be, like his granddaughter says, be like
grandpa, you can google the office of public debt and they are willing to take contributions from american citizens. candy? >> i have to tell you, i think mr. garcia is remarkable. i mean, he's giving, i mean, $3,000 to the government, and they can't even get this work done here. he's a veteran, you know, thank you for your service, mr. garcia. i think that's a remarkable story. although someone should get him a can crusher. let me ask you, how much -- you got into this a little bit, how much of mr. garcia's contributions actually helping? >> reporter: you know, it's a lot of money for mr. garcia. let's make that very clear. >> absolutely. >> reporter: but that $3,000, that disappeared in a millisecond, candy. and it's something that he wants people to understand. it's not really the amount, it's the spirit. and it's the spirit that he really wants washington to listen to. outside the beltway, people want to fix the government. people want to make sacrifices. people want to avoid the fiscal
cliff. and is d.c. listening? that's what mr. garcia is asking. >> yeah, it's the principle of the thing. i salute him. but the bureau of public debt, i have to admit, it's not a bureau i'm that familiar with, does other things. >> reporter: absolutely. it's a very big office. they basically borrow the money through treasury bills and notes. it's the money that allows the government to keep running. it's essentially their job. but they also have manners. they manage to write thank you letters to every citizen who does send them money. so if you're going to send anything, you will receive a thank you note from the bureau. >> kind of the least they can do. kyung lah, what a great story. thank you. north korea caught the u.s. off guard and raised nuclear fears with a recent rocket launch. we have new details about the deception that was involved. i'm going to dream about that tiramisu. what a night, huh? but, um, can the test drive be over now?
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it was a launch that raised nuclear fears around the world. north korea caught american officials off guard when it s successfully fired a rocket that could be capable of striking the u.s. now we're learning details about the deception that was involved. we're joid by our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. what happened? >> well, candy, sort of think of it as a game of three-card monte, but in this case, it might have been two-card monte. what we know is this. north korea launches this rocket on december 12th. about a week before, they said they were having technical problems. they were going to take the whole thing apart. but were they, really? now a u.s. intelligence analysis, partially conducted by the military, we're told, has taken a look at all of this and concluded, indeed, the u.s. was caught by surprise. those technical problems, maybe not. it was a deception campaign. they started to take the missile
apart, and they brought out other parts, knowing that u.s. satellites would see all of that. but those parts were from some old missile that wasn't even being used. the satellites overhead see that, they think it's all going to go on for days is and days, but suddenly when the satellites are not overhead, this is the assessment, the north koreans wheeled out the first missile and lit it. basically launched it. very successful launch, by all accounts, they put a satellite into space. what u.s. officials are telling us, candy, is there's no question that asia, the united states, were well protected. there were military outsets out at sea. there were planes and radars watching, but the north koreans did achieve one of their goals here. they surprised the u.s., and that shouldn't be underestimated. >> they fooled us, absolutely. what's the end game here? for north korea? >> for them, they're happy to -- they wanted to get a satellite into space. by all accounts, it's still up there.
not working all that well, but they got something into orbit. but they also were able to achieve a tactical intelligence victory. they were able to get this out there, light it off, launch it, if you will, when u.s. satellites weren't exactly able to launch as close as they wanted to. when they weren't over north korea at the time, they proved they could fool us. >> so here's what we know. we know that north korea has not responded to sanctions against the u.s. saying, okay, if you're going to continue to try to get nuclear -- >> we're going to be really mad. >> we're going to be really mad. so now, what our big thing has been, is we could watch them. we could tell when they were doing something. and now we're learning, actually, no. >> maybe not. maybe not. >> so what is the best defense of the rest of the world? do you just stay on high military alert, forever? >> to some extent, on the korean peninsula, south korean forces are on alert most of the time. japan watching very carefully. there's a lot of focus on the u.s. military now about putting more planes, more ships, more radars out in asia to watch all of this.
>> it does make it more complicated when you're not watching. barbara starr, thanks so much. cnn contributor john avalon is sitting in tonight on "erin burnett outfront". john, we hear you're talking with a sheriff who supports the idea of letting school principals have guns? >> this is true, candy. we're talking to an arizona sheriff who's backing the nra's plan, wants to arm school principals as a way of hedging against any future gun violence. we're going to ask him if that plan really adds up. also, the latest on the fiscal cliff, and our top 5 political viral videos of 2012. they helped set the tone of the debate. it's a lot of fun to go through. >> about 15 minutes from now, we'll be watching. thanks, john. >> thanks, candy. actor matthew mcconaughey is opening up to cnn about the way he's using his fame and money to help young people improve their lives. >> i've got things. i'm one of the haves. there are a lot of have-nots. we're giving the proverbial fishing rod instead of the fish to a lot of these kids, and
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in this holiday season, we're profiling big-name celebrities who are trying to give back to their communities, their country, and the world. cnn's alina cho spoke with actor matthew mcconaughey about his campaign to keep kids healthy and why he doesn't look very healthy right now. >> hey, candy. when you think about charity, there are a million ways you can help. and a lot of stars do give back. but actor matthew mcconaughey says he wanted his hands in the clay. so he started his own foundation, helping kids live healthier lives. we sat down recently to talk about that. we also talked about the one thing everyone's been buzzing
about lately -- his dramatic weight loss for a movie role. >> i go, i want something philanthropic or charitable. i want it on my desk every monday morning. i think i can follow, i can build, i can track. >> reporter: so matthew mcconaughey, movie star -- >> hi, i'm benjamin berry. >> andy anderson. >> reporter: started to think about how he could give back. >> i said, i want to find a place where i can help out, where it's prevention before you need the cure. so that then obviously led me to kids. >> reporter: it led him to high schoolers, kids at a crossroads. >> a freshman year in high school, a little odd, because you've just come from being the big dog in the eighth grade, in middle school. >> reporter: it led him and his wife to start the j.k. livin foundation. >> just keep livin, no "g" on the end, because live is a verb. >> reporter: j.k. livin doesn't
just provide support to existing programs, it created and funds its own after school curriculum, in 14 schools with high poverty rates nationwide. >> break a sweat. learn to eat healthy. and say thank you. that's sort of the three monikers. >> reporter: the kids meet twice a week, two hours a day, like 16-year-old esperanza ortega. >> we have our monthly goals, so i would say, oh, i'm going to lose five pounds, and when i lost five pounds, i felt great. >> reporter: and jeffrey jin. >> working out, it's a great stress reliever. it takes your minds off a lot of the things that happened during the week. >> if you can get them there and get them started on some good habits that maybe they didn't have or maintain good habits that maybe they already have, they have a better chance of carrying them over. >> reporter: and then there's the gratitude circle. >> i'm thankful for my best friend that i had for five years. >> for the opportunity to pursue a college education. >> besides the obvious, what's
the real value in doing that? >> reciprocity. the things that we show gratitude for, the things that we are thankful for, it creates more things to be thankful for. >> reporter: like mcconaughey cease success as an actor. >> i think i see a lot of law breakers up in this house. >> reporter: which leads us to that dramatic weight loss. >> i'm the lightest i've been since i was, i don't know, in eighth grade or something. >> yeah, let's talk about that, 38 pounds or something. the new film, mcconaughey plays an aids patient. a working actor with worldwide fame and a conscious. >> i've got things. i'm one of the haves. there are a lot of have-nots. we're giving the proverbial fishing rod instead of the fish to a lot of these kids, and thankfully, they're taking it, and they're using it, and tha they're coming back and customizing it in their own life. that definitely feels good. >> and for more on matthew mcconaughey's j.k. livin foundation and how you can help,
go to cnn.com/impact. candy, happy holidays. >> and happy holidays as well to our alina cho. thanks. retailers have recalled a popular brand of baby recliner after several deaths. lisa sylvester is back with that story and more. lisa? >> hi, there, candy. well, major u.s. retailers, they are recalling the nap nanny recliner after the reported deaths of five infants. the u.s. consumer product safety commission says the nap nanny poses a substantial risk of injury and death to infants. pictures show how babies can hang or fall out over the side of the recliner. the company tells cnn it stands behind the product 100%. and the security camera recorded this incredible video of a tornado sweeping past an alabama walgreens on christmas day. high winds blew through the store's front door as workers and shoppers took shelter in the back. the twister came about a hundred yards from smashing the store. and shoppers is at a
shanghai mall got a terrifying surprise when an aquarium burst open. see the pictures there. the massive tank, it held 33 tons of water, along with lemon sharks, fish, and turtles. at least 15 people were injured and three sharks were left dead. officials think cold weather may have weakened the tank's glass. at least that is the official reason. cold weather. >> yeah, i don't get that. 33,000 gallons of water and it only lasts for two years because of the cold? they need to check further. >> something a little fishy about that. >> thanks, lisa. if you are a fan of the group queen or maybe you just like to watch bizarre videos, stick around. ♪ galileo
police dash cams usually catch some pretty memorable moments. this next one is no different. here's a look at one of the most popular jeanne moos reports of 2012. >> reporter: what would we do without police dash cams, showing us half-naked speeders, and even a bank robber eating the evidence, the "give me the money" note. but this royal canadian mounted police dash cam recorded something special. ♪ galileo ♪ galil layio ♪ >> a guy in alberto was pulled over in a pickup truck. >> i wasn't realize when i was intoxicated. >> reporter: maybe he couldn't speak so well, but he sure managed to sing all the bohemian rhapsody by queen. ♪ mama ♪ just killed a man ♪ put a gun against his head ♪ pulled my trigger ♪ now he's dead
>> reporter: he sang the lyrics almost flawlessly for almost six minutes. ♪ easy come, easy go >> reporter: even after they arrived at the station house, the mounty let him finish the song. the mounty only admonished him once. >> robert, come down. >> i can't. >> reporter: a lot of people can't stop singing the bohemian rhapsody. ♪ i see a little silhouetteto of a man ♪ ♪ scaramouche ♪ scaramouche >> reporter: parts of the dash cam solo were frightening. ♪ mama [ howls ] >> reporter: you've got to give the guy credit. even beyonce messed up the words to the song, and she was cold stone sober at a concert. ♪ put a bullet